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> Issue 57 > Page 87 - Michael Coleman: A Cape Breton Irish Connection

Page 87 - Michael Coleman: A Cape Breton Irish Connection

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/6/1 (136 reads)

things is to be able to keep the listener guessing! (And to keep the music fresh.) I guess that's the attitude. I don't know, maybe it's also an element of competitiveness among the musicians. To al? ways have one more little trick. You think you've learned it all. But they always try to add one little trick and then you real? ize, "Oh, geez, I didn't quite get that one." So maybe what it does is that you never finish the learning process when you play with that kind of attitude. Because there's always a new trick you can throw in. (And you never finish the tune.) Wow! Paul laughs. You can look at it that way, but there's just no.... I think I just hit on something there, though. That attitude means that you can never finish learning a tune. That must be my problem! Laughter. (And there's also the opportunity--even the invitation--that you can have a role in the making of that tune. You would par? ticipate in that tune, in the changing of that tune.) Oh, yes, yes, yeah. The evolu? tion of the tune. Once you've really learned the language.... Yeah, I think you're right, that whole "correct" thing. I mean, what is "correct?" Within the Irish style, it's someone who can play those additions into a tune, but it doesn't take away from the tune. (We're not talking about arbitrary chang? es.) No, no, no. no. (Because that's what's kind of implied when you say, "to trick the listener." You don't mean arbi? trary.) No, no. It's definitely knowing the language, and being able to make sub? tle melodic changes that are just as good as the original, or better. Because if you can't make it as good or better, leave it where it was, and make sure you can play it the way it was. That's the attitude. (If that doesn't suggest a living tradi? tion, I don't know what does.) Yeah. I think that last sentence I just said, said / J- MUSIC STORE j? Complete SeCection of 9'tisica[ Instrutmnts &Suppfies; Cape (Breton 'Sscordings 'utftenUc Cape Breton Handcrafts Located in the NORTH SYDNEY MALL King Street, North Sydney • Phone: 794-4240 '''Drop in and see me!" - 'um 9'ac(DonaCd it. If you can't make it as good or bet? ter, leave it where it was. But don't hes? itate to try to make it better. (And do you really feel that that's what Johnny Wilmot was teaching you?) That's what he'd be trying to teach me, definite? ly. Johnny would be the boy who really I think understood the essence of Coleman, as far as that side of it. That taking the music, learning it as well as you can from your existing tradition, but trying to add little extra things to it. Trying to both keep it and push it forward, so to speak. Some people don't hear the improvising within the traditional music. They think there's no improvising; they think it's just playing the melody. And that it's re? petitive. When you're first listening, you're not really in tune to it--you hear it as the same melody being played every time the same. Where in fact there are subtle changes. It's a more subtle form of improvisation. (And most of us are missing it most of the time?) Well, I don't know about that. Peo? ple sense when a player is on. You know, they can feel that without really being able to articulate what it was he was do? ing that was making him lively. Coleman would play a tune as many as four times running. Maybe even five times some? times. I suspect Cape Breton players used' to do that too, but since the influence of recordings--carving performances to fit on WE'RE PROUD TO SHARE... Scottish and Acadian Festivals Hiking trails, picnic and camping parks Museums and heritage The warmest waters north of the Carolinas! Cottage crafts and works of art The Cape Breton highlands National Park Fresh and salt water fishing Horse racing, canoeing, and other sports Fine accommodations, gift shops Restaurants Wildlife The Sunset Side of Cape Breton "t"- Requests for Visitor's Guide, brochures, and general information may be made to: Inverness County Department of Recreation/Tourism P.O. Box 179. Port Hood, N.S. BOE 2W0 (902)787-2274 SI
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